Requiem for an Unknown Tigress Cub

Written by: T Wignesan

still the climbing green lianoid lass


her tender tendrils torn  


massive metal lying like a cutlass


in her lap forlorn


                       finger on trigger                                                                       


 


                           still the wetness    thighs   eyes


      the breasts peaking


                                       the quick quelling blushing frenzy


            the slightly forwardthrusting awkward turgidness of the torso 


                                                       the stalk-neck craning 


a young pallid green palmyra on the thrust


               the dusky knuckly fingers strict and bony   quivering


            the gangly gait now stiffening


                                                              and within alert grasp


an AK-47


                rounds of bandolier bullets


          nipping her nipples  


  fatigues for jungle sarees   loose silk anklelength skirts


       over rough cotton jodhpurs


           rubbery canvas shoes for Ali Baba leather sandals  


 sandalwood clogs


 


      the loin-length sesame-oiled tresses severed at the shoulders


           the rationed tampax crushed in the back jodhpur pocket


    the drilled march still aching in the pelvic girdle


                                                              the shoulder blades   


too  tendon-strained streaky shark’s fins


 


her mind on her mother’s diurnal diabetic needle


           and the relief    the dowry promised to the boy next door    


      the lightly tripping fiesta truant feeling         


 a matinee show  


    the classes  well the classes   but for the maths teacher   


        she was just then getting on the mend 


           


her mind shutting out the homely odour of steaming    


                                                              puttu and cambal


                                                                    itiyappam and coti


                                                                             rasam and rice


 


     the rat-a-tat of sudden staccato fire    


the screaming blinding flash of shells


   the dirgeful thudthud of bursting bombs    


the grating crackling of armoured car chains  


             and the distant muffled blasts    


     droning planes swooping


the bark and shriek of schrapnel...


 


  then the raspy clipped yelp of the platoon commander  


                ends her reverie


   


    her face crushed against a mound of freshturned sod  


             her right knee twisted   trapped in the hunched cavern of her       


        pubertally pulpy belly


the breath expelled in an urgent wheezing crushed moan 


                                     the last stifled desperate cry  


for her long distraught mother  


(© T.Wignesan – Paris, May 1st., 1997 ; rev. 2012 ; from the collection : Words for a Lost Sub-Continent, 1999.)